The Good, The Bad, The Weird Kim Jee-woon

The Good, The Bad, The Weird Kim Jee-woon
Going into The Good, The Bad, The Weird, I truly didn’t know what I expected from a Korean western. Incredibly, the film delivered everything I might have expected if I’d been imaginative enough to think of it.

The wild ride is being touted as the biggest budget Korean film ever made, which isn’t surprising considering the fancy special effects, massive chase sequences and visual mayhem the film unleashes within the first few minutes. It’s definitely a thrill ride.

The story takes place in the tumultuous ’30s where hordes of bandits on horseback spar with the Japanese army and an assortment of shady characters, all after a mysterious, ancient map. Our three heroes and anti-heroes first meet on a train where each (knowingly or not) thwarts the other’s plans and schemes.

There’s Do-won (Jung Woo-sung), a silent, handsome bounty hunter who never misses a shot. It seems clear from the start that this lone cowboy sitting atop a black horse is "the Good,” while his nemesis Chang-yi (Lee Byung-hun) is undeniably "the Bad.” Sporting a pinstriped suit, asymmetrical haircut and a touch of black eyeliner, the gang leader is merciless, cruel and deadly.

Between the two is the hapless Tae-goo (Song Kang-ho), a scooter-riding petty thief who happens upon the map everyone is after. Tae-goo is definitely "the Weird” but it becomes clear early on that he’s much smarter and more cunning than anyone is giving him credit for.

Against a striking backdrop of the Manchurian desert, the three men chase each other, the map and shoot, stab and kick the asses of a ton of miscellaneous thugs, thieves and passers-by in the process.

I’ve figured out what I’d want out of a Korean western because it’s the same thing I want out of any other western: good chases, good gun fights and charming tough guys. The Good, The Bad, The Weird delivers in spades. (Seville)